Racial bias

Eight charts that explain what discrimination against North Easterners feels like in Delhi

Up to 74% of respondents to a survey say racial discrimination in the capital is 'most worrying'.

The death of 20-year-old Nido Tania at the beginning of the year, and a steady drumbeat of stories about discrimination against North Easterners since then, has been a stark reminder of how ethnic prejudice is alive and kicking on the streets of the capital. Every week, there is news about a fight that was sparked off because of an ethnic insult or lawyers claiming prejudicial treatment because of the way they look.

But how real is this spectre of ethnic discrimination in the nation’s capital, believed to be the number one destination for North Easterners looking for jobs? The Reachout Foundation, an organisation dedicated to ending discrimination decided to try and find out.

“With frequent reports of alleged racist attacks in Delhi and the National Capital Region, Reachout Foundation perceived a lack of comprehensive data on the nature of alleged discrimination against people from Northeastern India in cities like Delhi,"  writes Kishalaya Bhattacharjee, director of the foundation in a new report that reveals the results of a survey. "Our emphasis thus has been to generate comprehensive and defensible empirical data on the extent and variation of racist attitudes and experiences, in order that they could inspire or guide anti-discrimination policies."

Workers from the foundation spoke to 1,000 people from the eight North Eastern states living across the National Capital Region, in order to gain an understanding of what it is like to be discriminated against. “Whether society can be shaken out of its apathy remains to be seen, but it cannot be allowed to inflict so much suffering in a smug trance. The first step must be to hold a mirror up to society, and to persuade it to look into it,” Bhattacharjee wrote.

First come the basic questions. Are you discriminated against, and how often does it happen? Nearly half of those surveyed said that they feel discriminated against because of their ethnicity sometimes, with 24% saying they had never faced such prejudice and 10% saying it happened often.



Considering one of the most common ways to demonstrate prejudice is through pejoratives, the survey respondents were also asked how often people using offensive names to call them. Here again, nearly half said it happened either sometimes or often.



And even for those who did not feel discriminated against personally, prejudice was a problem. The survey included a question on how worrying the state of racial discrimination in Delhi is, and three-quarters of respondents said it is “most worrying”, with only 8% saying it is “least worrying.”



Although this might have been skewed because of the spread of population of North Easterners in the national capital region, who tend towards the young, either students or professionals, the survey also showed that the perception of discrimination was drastically higher for those in their 20s as opposed to either the younger or the older.



That said, it’s not all bad news. When asked whether they believed it is possible for Delhi to be rid of discrimination, or at least if the problem can be addressed, almost half of the respondents said it could be done. A third, however, said it was not possible, while the rest were ambivalent.



As to how the city must go about it, the respondents were clear that the best way to address racial discrimination was through education. This applies on both ends. Education, in their minds, would not only reduce the likelihood of being prejudicially treated the survey also found that North Easterners with education were more likely to report problems if they have been discriminated against, and therefore do something about the issue.



The onus, in the minds of the survey respondents, is squarely on the government and the police to take charge of the problems. But after them, 30% of those surveyed said social workers need to be doing more to address discrimination with another 17% saying it should be the ethnic groups themselves that should work to address these issues.



Despite this expectation that the issues have to be sorted out by authorities, though, only 4% of those who had faced discrimination said they reported this to the police, with many more saying they were more likely to tell friends and family about such incidents instead of law enforcement.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Putting the patient first - insights for hospitals to meet customer service expectations

These emerging solutions are a fine balance between technology and the human touch.

As customers become more vocal and assertive of their needs, their expectations are changing across industries. Consequently, customer service has gone from being a hygiene factor to actively influencing the customer’s choice of product or service. This trend is also being seen in the healthcare segment. Today good healthcare service is no longer defined by just qualified doctors and the quality of medical treatment offered. The overall ambience, convenience, hospitality and the warmth and friendliness of staff is becoming a crucial way for hospitals to differentiate themselves.

A study by the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions in fact indicates that good patient experience is also excellent from a profitability point of view. The study, conducted in the US, analyzed the impact of hospital ratings by patients on overall margins and return on assets. It revealed that hospitals with high patient-reported experience scores have higher profitability. For instance, hospitals with ‘excellent’ consumer assessment scores between 2008 and 2014 had a net margin of 4.7 percent, on average, as compared to just 1.8 percent for hospitals with ‘low’ scores.

This clearly indicates that good customer service in hospitals boosts loyalty and goodwill as well as financial performance. Many healthcare service providers are thus putting their efforts behind: understanding constantly evolving customer expectations, solving long-standing problems in hospital management (such as long check-out times) and proactively offering a better experience by leveraging technology and human interface.

The evolving patient

Healthcare service customers, who comprise both the patient and his or her family and friends, are more exposed today to high standards of service across industries. As a result, hospitals are putting patient care right on top of their priorities. An example of this in action can be seen in the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital. In July 2015, the hospital launched a ‘Smart OPD’ system — an integrated mobile health system under which the entire medical ecosystem of the hospital was brought together on a digital app. Patients could use the app to book/reschedule doctor’s appointments and doctors could use it to access a patient’s medical history, write prescriptions and schedule appointments. To further aid the process, IT assistants were provided to help those uncomfortable with technology.

The need for such initiatives and the evolving nature of patient care were among the central themes of the recently concluded Abbott Hospital Leadership Summit. The speakers included pundits from marketing and customer relations along with leaders in the healthcare space.

Among them was the illustrious speaker Larry Hochman, a globally recognised name in customer service. According to Mr. Hochman, who has worked with British Airways and Air Miles, patients are rapidly evolving from passive recipients of treatment to active consumers who are evaluating their overall experience with a hospital on social media and creating a ‘word-of-mouth’ economy. He talks about this in the video below.

Play

As the video says, with social media and other public platforms being available today to share experiences, hospitals need to ensure that every customer walks away with a good experience.

The promise gap

In his address, Mr. Hochman also spoke at length about the ‘promise gap’ — the difference between what a company promises to deliver and what it actually delivers. In the video given below, he explains the concept in detail. As the gap grows wider, the potential for customer dissatisfaction increases.

Play

So how do hospitals differentiate themselves with this evolved set of customers? How do they ensure that the promise gap remains small? “You can create a unique value only through relationships, because that is something that is not manufactured. It is about people, it’s a human thing,” says Mr. Hochman in the video below.

Play

As Mr. Hochman and others in the discussion panel point out, the key to delivering a good customer experience is to instil a culture of empathy and hospitality across the organisation. Whether it is small things like smiling at patients, educating them at every step about their illness or listening to them to understand their fears, every action needs to be geared towards making the customer feel that they made the correct decision by getting treated at that hospital. This is also why, Dr. Nandkumar Jairam, Chairman and Group Medical Director, Columbia Asia, talked about the need for hospitals to train and hire people with soft skills and qualities such as empathy and the ability to listen.

Striking the balance

Bridging the promise gap also involves a balance between technology and the human touch. Dr. Robert Pearl, Executive Director and CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, who also spoke at the event, wrote about the example of Dr. Devi Shetty’s Narayana Health Hospitals. He writes that their team of surgeons typically performs about 900 procedures a month which is equivalent to what most U.S. university hospitals do in a year. The hospitals employ cutting edge technology and other simple innovations to improve efficiency and patient care.

The insights gained from Narayana’s model show that while technology increases efficiency of processes, what really makes a difference to customers are the human touch-points. As Mr. Hochman says, “Human touch points matter more because there are less and less of them today and are therefore crucial to the whole customer experience.”

Play

By putting customers at the core of their thinking, many hospitals have been able to apply innovative solutions to solve age old problems. For example, Max Healthcare, introduced paramedics on motorcycles to circumvent heavy traffic and respond faster to critical emergencies. While ambulances reach 30 minutes after a call, the motorcycles reach in just 17 minutes. In the first three months, two lives were saved because of this customer-centric innovation.

Hospitals are also looking at data and consumer research to identify consumer pain points. Rajit Mehta, the MD and CEO of Max Healthcare Institute, who was a panelist at the summit, spoke of the importance of data to understand patient needs. His organisation used consumer research to identify three critical areas that needed work - discharge and admission processes for IPD patients and wait-time for OPD patients. To improve wait-time, they incentivised people to book appointments online. They also installed digital kiosks where customers could punch in their details to get an appointment quickly.

These were just some of the insights on healthcare management gleaned from the Hospital Leadership Summit hosted by Abbott. In over 150 countries, Abbott is working with hospitals and healthcare professionals to improve the quality of health services.

To read more content on best practices for hospital leaders, visit Abbott’s Bringing Health to Life portal here.

This article was produced on behalf of Abbott by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.